Waiting for the GPS on your Android phone to get a fix on its location can be a real pain, especially when using navigation apps like Google Navigate. I mean, you just want directions to Grandma’s house! Do you really need to sit there and have your phone tell you that it is “Searching for GPS …” when you know where you are but not where you are going?
Other apps that need your location to work properly or to check in, such as Four Square, Facebook, Endomondo, or Google+ can have this problem as well and waiting for your location to appear can sometimes take minutes.
Luckily, there is a way to cut down the time you have to wait for your location, so you can get back to getting where you need to go.
The Solution to Improving Your Android GPS
The solution comes in the form of a handy app called GPS Status and Toolbox. This app is a great tool for your Android phone because it puts you in control of your phone’s built-in GPS. With it installed, you can tell your cell phone to shake off the cobwebs and get locating.
The vast majority of phones run into errors when using the onboard GPS because of problems with ephemerides. An ephemeris is essentially a cheat sheet that your phone uses to help it tell where any specific GPS satellite is going to be at any given time during the day. An ephemeris, like bread, can go stale, making it considerably harder for your phone to find out exactly where it is.
To compensate, phones download the data from the GPS signals it receives from satellites 12,600 miles above you. This is why it can sometimes take your phone (or other GPS device for that matter) several minutes before it finds out where it is. This is often referred to as a cold start and they are notoriously long.
Enter A-GPS, stage left. A-GPS uses a network connection (read WiFi, 3G, 4G, or 4G-LTE cell phone users) to download ephemeris data directly to your phone for some of the best working satellites for your specific area. This data is then stored on your phone and can give your cell phone a fix on your position in seconds instead of minutes.
How To Use GPS Status and Toolbox to Manage A-GPS
- Open GPS Status and Toolbox
- Open the app’s menu by pressing your phone’s menu button
- Click on Tools
- Click on Manage A-GPS State
- Click on Reset to clear your phone’s GPS data cache
- Repeat steps 2-4
- Click on Download
- Be amazed at the new speed
The whole process should take you less than 20 seconds and will speed up your GPS significantly. Now, you can get back to driving to Grandma’s house without the frustration of having to wait around for your phone to figure out where you are.
This is a guest post written by Joe Mueller, who writes over at GPS For Today, a website dedicated to making GPS and GPS tracking technology accessible and useful for everyone. The site has an entire section dedicated to GPS cell phone apps where you can learn about the best location aware apps for your phone. Follow him on Google+: Joe Mueller+